The fact that for over two decades children from the Cuban province of Holguin are attracted by plastic made toys, manufactured by local self-employed people, is indeed an interesting thing.
Those toys that emerged as an alternative to the impact generated after the collapse of the socialist bloc in Eastern Europe and the shortness that followed, continue to be a viable option, so much from the economic point of view or to please the children’s demands.
The truth is that self-employed people have managed to fill the void left behind by the state companies.
To the joy of local craftspeople, homemade toys in Holguin have survived the competition posed by imported toys. They have wisely profited from wastes and have been meeting to a degree the demands before the poor offer by the national production, plus the high prices of the imported toys for sale in the shops.
Despite children’s acceptance, the homemade toys are far from the quality standards of recognized firms in the world.
Those toys are rudimentary devices if compared to China made ones, just to mention a lead world producer, but their merit lies on being close to the dreams of the little ones for over 20 years now.
However, it is fair to say they have improve toys’ quality for the last years; giving them a fine final touch despite the poor technology at the reach of self-employed people, the poor materials at hand; but luckily they have wisely negotiated so the many hardships and shortness posed on the road.
The toys made in Holguin are not fancy ones, but one can see how craftspeople have creative and persistent they have been before limitations of different kind.
You will not see them with sophisticated devices, but for sure you will meet boys and girls playing so delightfully with their dear piece made of plastic. It is that local artisans have managed to produce toys that call children’s attention, whose characters or figures have been taken from cartoons, films, serials, or any animated story.
They either sold by street vendors or self-employees on the porch of a house, or any place they are allowed to.
If Cuban self-employed workers had access to better technologies and had better access to resources they would be serious competitors. Let’s just wait today’s situation changes for the joy of producers and children.
Plastic made truck and trailer manufactured by self-employed workers in Holguin. Photo: Yamila Pupo Otero